Minding Frankie

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Overview

When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he reluctantly agrees to take care of the baby girl. Along with the help of a caring network of friends, family and neighbors?including Lisa, his broken-hearted classmate, and Emily, his American cousin?Noel adapts to his new responsibilities But when a nosy social worker decides to get involved, she threatens to ruin their unconventional but special arrangement. It will be up to Noel to persuade her that everyone in the ...

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Overview

When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he reluctantly agrees to take care of the baby girl. Along with the help of a caring network of friends, family and neighbors—including Lisa, his broken-hearted classmate, and Emily, his American cousin—Noel adapts to his new responsibilities But when a nosy social worker decides to get involved, she threatens to ruin their unconventional but special arrangement. It will be up to Noel to persuade her that everyone in the neighborhood has something to offer when it comes to minding Frankie. 
 

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Noel didn't plan to be a single dad. In fact, he had not even contemplated the full responsibilities of fatherhood until he learns that an ex-girlfriend is both terminally ill and pregnant. Becoming the baby's guardian requires more than a mental makeover; Noel needs a whole Dublin village for support. Maeve Binchy's new ensemble novel breathes with the humanity, unexpected challenges, and new possibilities that we have come to expect of her writing. A heartwarming chirp for early spring readers.

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Binchy is a national treasure in her homeland of Ireland, and her latest novel is a perfect illustration of why. Old-fashioned and newfangled are totally compatible in contemporary Dublin, where lonely, hard-drinking slacker Noel Lynch discovers he's about to be a single dad now that the one-night-stand/mother of his child, Stella, is dying. Suddenly, the salt-of-the-earth residents of St. Jarlath's Crescent and Noel's resourceful American cousin, Emily, spring into action to keep Noel sober, fire up his ambitions, appease militant social worker Moira, and help raise baby Frankie. It's a hair-raising, heartwarming juggling act for Noel, his quirky roommate Lisa, do-gooder Emily, and a neighborhood crowded with eccentric characters and adorable pooches—including one with a handsome inheritance. Binchy (Heart and Soul) straddles improbable and possible in her touching saga, and if your mind can't quite wrap itself around St. Jarlath's Crescent, your heart will have no trouble recognizing the landscape. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“One of Binchy’s best works. She harmoniously handles a diverse group of characters, the good deeds that characterize life in Ireland are believable, and the ending is sweet. One hopes to find Frankie in one of Binchy’s future novels.” —Susan Rogers, Newark Star-Ledger
 
“Binchy’s world view is a large, benevolent one, and the reader is happier for it . . . bless her big Irish heart.” —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Maeve Binchy has done it again [with] yet another warm tale of individual growth and human community, [in which] she assembles a large cast of characters and deploys them with her characteristic playfulness . . . Binchy specializes in exploring human foibles without spelling them out in tiresome detail . . . There’s a good chance that many readers, like this one, will consider Minding Frankie one of Binchy’s best novels yet.” —Maude McDaniel, BookPage
 
“Joyful, quintessential Binchy.” —Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine 
 
“All across America, Maeve Binchy fans will be kicking off their shoes, making a nice cup of tea, and curling up on the couch as they re-enter Binchy’s cozy world. The Irish author returns here to a charming Dublin milieu of favorite characters from past novels, with some important new ones.” —Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times
 
“Binchy is a national treasure in her homeland of Ireland, and her latest novel is a perfect illustration of why.…Your heart will have no trouble recognizing the landscape [of this] touching saga.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Reading a Maeve Binchy novel is like settling in for a cozy visit with an old friend.  In vintage Binchy style, a cast of colorfully eccentric characters living in a snug Dublin neighborhood seamlessly weave in and out of each other’s lives, united by family, faith, friendship and community....Readers will need a box of tissues handy as the good-hearted residents of St. Jarlath’s Crescent prove that it does indeed take a ‘village to raise a child.’” —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

Library Journal
Fans of Irish author Binchy will welcome the return of some familiar faces (from Quentins; Heart and Soul; Scarlet Feather) and also enjoy meeting new characters in her latest. Frankie is a little girl born as her mother Stella is dying of cancer. During the last stages of her life, Stella contacts Noel, a one-night stand whom she claims is the father. Noel has a host of his own problems but decides to pull things together for the child. Friends and family help out, but the social worker assigned to the case cannot accept the arrangements. Having never dealt with her own troubled childhood, she works to find proof that Frankie would be better off in foster care. The brief appearances of so many characters from previous works might be annoying, but the stories of Noel, his cousin Emily, and his friend Lisa, along with the social worker who wants to pull them apart and the little girl who pulls them together, make this novel fresh and appealing. VERDICT An enjoyable novel about life, love, and second chances. [300,000-copy first printing; see Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/10.]—Beth Blakesley, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Kirkus Reviews

A Dublin neighborhood full of many of the characters who frequently pass through Binchy's Irish novels (Heart and Soul, 2009, etc.) bands together to help a young single father raise his daughter.

Aware she will not survive her baby's birth, fatally ill Stella tells alcoholic loner Noel that he is the father. He doesn't remember having actual sex with Stella and is far from certain he wants or can handle the responsibility. But with the help and encouragement of his cousin Emily, in Dublin on an extended visit from New York, Noel stops drinking and takes custody of baby Frankie after Stella's death at St. Brigid's Hospital. His transformation from loser to responsible, loving father and his struggle to convince his uptight social worker that he is fit to raise Frankie forms the central plot. But once Noel's in AA and night school, he pales as a character. After so many novels, Binchy's recurring characters have become so numerous that even devotees may have trouble keeping track. Here, hospital administrator Frank Ennis is the one to watch as he reaches out to the grown son he never knew he had. As usual, Binchy's supporting characters steal the show. Social worker Moira seems like the stereotypical uptight bureaucrat at first, but her loneliness and painful self-awareness of her failure to connect to others become increasingly heart-wrenching. Moira has to overcome an unhappy family situation, as does Lisa, a graphic artist who moves in as Noel's platonic housemate to escape her parents' sham marriage, although she's in her own sham love affair with a flashy restaurateur. Circling everywhere, boringly perfect Emily has an uncanny ability to ask the right question and solve problems—everyone in Noel's life has a story. A dram of sorrow leavens the predictably happy ending.

Binchy remains the queen of spiritual comfort, but this time round she's stretched interest thin with ups and downs too many and too mild.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307475480
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 110,380
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including her most recent novel, Heart and Soul, in addition to Whitethorn Woods, Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping; among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland, and London.
 
www.maevebinchy.com

Biography

If storytelling is an art, then Maeve Binchy is unquestionably one of today's master artists. After all, Binchy was born, educated, and lives in Ireland, a land well known for its great storytellers. Firmly grounded in the Irish storytelling tradition, Binchy has earned a sizeable following of enthusiastic fans for her 11 novels and 4 collections of short stories. I had a very happy childhood, which is unsuitable if you're going to be an Irish writer," Maeve jokes. Perhaps that happy childhood is why Binchy did not publish her first novel until she was 43 years old. But there's no doubt that once she did she proved herself to be an immensely talented, multiple New York Times-bestselling author. her name.

Binchy was introduced into the joys of storytelling at an early age. Her mother, Maureen, and father, William, a prominent Dublin barrister, encouraged Binchy and her three siblings to be avid readers as well as to share stories at dinner and, as her brother William admits, nobody loved telling stories more than Maeve.

Growing up in the quiet seaside town of Dalkey, located about 10 miles south of Dublin, Binchy also found herself dreaming of escape. "I love Dalkey now," she says, "but when I was young, I thought it was somewhat like living in the desert." Her desire to escape led her first to the big city, to the University College in Dublin, where she studied history and French. After graduating in 1960, she taught Latin, French, and history in a Dublin grade school and was able to indulge her love of traveling during summer vacations. She proved so popular a teacher that parents of her students pooled their money to send her on a trip to Israel. Her father was so impressed by the letters she wrote describing Israeli life that he typed them up and sent them to the Irish Independent newspaper. That's how Maeve returned home to find, quite to her surprise, that she was now a published writer.

Using her newfound interest in journalism, she got a job on The Irish Times as the women's editor, an unlikely role for her, she jokingly acknowledges, given her hopeless lack of fashion sense. In the early 70s, she shifted to feature reporting, and moved to London. The move was motivated only in part by her career. Making the kind of bold life-altering decision that many of her characters are prone to, Binchy decided to take a chance and move to London to be with the man she'd fallen in love with during a previous visit—Gordon Snell, a BBC broadcaster, children's book author, and mystery novelist.

The risk, as it often does in her novels, paid off big time. Maeve married Gordon in 1977, and the two remain happily married to this day. In 1980, they bought a one-bedroom cottage back in Binchy's old hometown of Dalkey. Struggling to make mortgage payments on their new home, Binchy, who had published two collections of her newspaper work and one of short stories, decided to try to sell her first novel, which she'd managed to write in between her newspaper assignments. When her publisher told her that Light A Penny Candle would likely be a bestseller, Maeve remembers her sense of shock. "I had to sit down," she recalls. "I had never even had enough money to pay the telephone bill."

Maeve and her husband still live in that same Dalkey cottage, where they share an office, writing side by side. "All I ever wanted to do," she says, "is to write stories that people will enjoy and feel at home with." She has unquestionably succeeded with that goal. Light A Penny Candle was followed by such bestselling works as Circle of Friends, which was turned into a major motion picture starring Minnie Driver, and Tara Road, an Oprah Book Club selection. Binchy is consistently named one of the most popular writers in readers' polls in England and Ireland, outselling and rated higher than James Joyce. Of this success, Binchy comments with her typical good humor, "If you're going on a plane journey, you're more likely to take one of my stories than Finnegan's Wake."

In addition to her books, Binchy is also a playwright whose works have been staged at The Peacock Theatre of Dublin, and was the author of a hugely popular monthly column called "Maeve's Week," which appeared in The Irish Times for 32 years. A kind of combined gossip, humor, and advice column, it achieved cult status in Ireland and abroad.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Good To Know

In our interview, Binchy shared some fun facts about herself with us:

"I am a big, confident, happy woman who had a loving childhood, a pleasant career, and a wonderful marriage. I feel very lucky."

"I have been lucky enough to travel a lot, meet great people in many lands. I have liked almost everyone I met along the way."

"I have always believed that life is too short for rows and disagreements. Even if I think I'm right, I would prefer to apologize and remain friends rather than win and be an enemy."

"I live in Ireland near the sea, only one mile from where I grew up -- that's good, since I've known many of my neighbours for between 50-60 years. Gordon and I play chess every day, and we are both equally bad. We play chatty over talkative bad Bridge with friends every week."

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    1. Hometown:
      Dublin, Ireland, and London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 28, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland
    1. Education:
      Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

Read an Excerpt

Binchy: MINDING FRANKIE

Chapter One

Katie Finglas was coming to the end of a tiring day in the salon. Anything bad that could happen had happened. A woman had not told them about an allergy and had come out with lumps and a rash on her forehead. A bride’s mother had thrown a tantrum and said that she looked like a laughingstock. A man who had wanted streaks of blond in his hair became apoplectic when, halfway through the process, he had inquired what they would cost. Katie’s husband, Garry, had placed both his hands innocently on the shoulders of a sixty-year-old female client, who had then told him that she was going to sue him for sexual harassment and assault.

Katie looked now at the man standing opposite her, a big priest with sandy hair mixed with gray.

“You’re Katie Finglas and I gather you run this establishment,” the priest said, looking around the innocent salon nervously as if it were a high-class brothel.

“That’s right, Father,” Katie said with a sigh. What could be happening now?

“It’s just that I was talking to some of the girls who work here, down at the center on the quays, you know, and they were telling me . . .”

Katie felt very tired. She employed a couple of high school dropouts: she paid them properly, trained them. What could they have been complaining about to a priest?

“Yes, Father, what exactly is the problem?” she asked.

“Well, it is a bit of a problem. I thought I should come to you directly, as it were.” He seemed a little awkward.

“Very right, Father,” Katie said. “So tell me what it is.”

“It’s this woman, Stella Dixon. She’s in hospital, you see . . .”

“Hospital?” Katie’s head reeled. What could this involve? Someone who had inhaled the peroxide?

“I’m sorry to hear that.” She tried for a level voice.

“Yes, but she wants a hairdo.”

“You mean she trusts us again?” Sometimes life was extraordinary.

“No, I don’t think she was ever here before. . . .” He looked bewildered.

“And your interest in all this, Father?”

“I am Brian Flynn and I am acting chaplain at St. Brigid’s Hospital at the moment, while the real chaplain is in Rome on a pilgrimage. Apart from being asked to bring in cigarettes and drink for the patients, this is the only serious request I’ve had.”

“You want me to go and do someone’s hair in hospital?”

“She’s seriously ill. She’s dying. I thought she needed a senior person to talk to. Not, of course, that you look very senior. You’re only a girl yourself,” the priest said.

“God, weren’t you a sad loss to the women of Ireland when you went for the priesthood,” Katie said. “Give me her details and I’ll bring my magic bag of tricks in to see her.”

“Thank you so much. I have it all written out here.” Father Flynn handed her a note.

A middle-aged woman approached the desk. She had glasses on the tip of her nose and an anxious expression.

“I gather you teach people the tricks of hairdressing,” she said.

“Yes, or more the art of hairdressing, as we like to call it,” Katie said.

“I have a cousin coming home from America for a few weeks. She mentioned that in America there are places where you could get your hair done for near to nothing cost if you were letting people practice on you.”

“Well, we do have a students’ night on Tuesdays; people bring in their own towels and we give them a style. They usually contribute five euros to a charity.”

“Tonight is Tuesday!” the woman cried triumphantly.

“So it is,” Katie said through gritted teeth.

“So, could I book myself in? I’m Josie Lynch.”

“Great, Mrs. Lynch—see you after seven o’clock,” Katie said, writing down the name. Her eyes met the priest’s. There was sympathy and understanding there.

It wasn’t all champagne and glitter running your own hairdressing salon.

Josie and Charles Lynch had lived in 23 St. Jarlath’s Crescent since they were married thirty-two years ago. They had seen many changes in the area. The corner shop had become a mini-supermarket; the old laundry, where sheets had been ironed and folded, was now a Laundromat, where people left big bags bulky with mixed clothes and asked for a service wash. There was now a proper medical practice with four doctors where once there had been just old Dr. Gillespie, who had brought everyone into the world and seen them out of it.

During the height of the economic boom, houses in St. Jarlath’s Crescent had changed hands for amazing sums of money. Small houses with gardens near the city center had been much in demand. Not anymore, of course—the recession had been a great equalizer, but it was still a much more substantial area than it had been three decades ago.

After all, just look at Molly and Paddy Carroll, with their son Declan—a doctor—a real, qualified doctor! And just look at Muttie and Lizzie Scarlet’s daughter Cathy. She ran a catering company that was hired for top events.

But a lot of things had changed for the worse. There was no community spirit anymore. No church processions went up and down the Crescent on the feast of Corpus Christi, as they used to three decades ago. Josie and Charles Lynch felt that they were alone in the world, and certainly in St. Jarlath’s Crescent, in that they knelt down at night and said the Rosary.

That had always been the way.

When they married they planned a life based on the maxim that the family that prays together stays together. They had assumed they would have eight or nine children, because God never put a mouth into this world that He didn’t feed. But that wasn’t to happen. After Noel, Josie had been told there would be no more children. It was hard to accept. They both came from big families; their brothers and sisters had produced big families. But then, perhaps, it was all meant to be this way.

They had always hoped Noel would be a priest. The fund to educate him for the priesthood was started before he was three. Money was put aside from Josie’s wages at the biscuit factory. Every week a little more was added to the post office savings account, and when Charles got his envelope on a Friday from the hotel where he was a porter, a sum was also put into the post office. Noel would get the best of priestly educations when the time came.

So it was with great surprise and a lot of disappointment that Josie and Charles learned that their quiet son had no interest whatsoever in a religious life. The Brothers said that he showed no sign of a vocation, and when the matter had been presented to Noel as a possibility when he was fourteen, he had said if it was the last job on earth he wouldn’t go for it.

That had been very definite indeed.

Not so definite, however, was what he actually would like to do. Noel was vague about this, except to say he might like to run an office. Not work in an office, but run one. He showed no interest in studying office management or bookkeeping or accounting or in any areas where the careers department tried to direct him. He liked art, he said, but he didn’t want to paint. If pushed, he would say that he liked looking at paintings and thinking about them. He was good at drawing; he always had a notebook and a pencil with him and he was often to be found curled up in a corner sketching a face or an animal. This did not, of course, lead to any career path, but Noel had never expected it to. He did his homework at the kitchen table, sighing now and then, but rarely ever excited or enthusiastic. At the parent-teacher meetings Josie and Charles had inquired about this. They wondered, Did anything at school fire him up? Anything at all?

The teachers were at a loss. Most boys were unfathomable around fourteen or fifteen but they had usually settled down to do something. Or often to do nothing. Noel Lynch, they said, had just become even more quiet and withdrawn than he already was.

Josie and Charles wondered, Could this be right?

Noel was quiet, certainly, and it had been a great relief to them that he hadn’t filled the house up with loud young lads thumping one another. But they had thought this was part of his spiritual life, a preparation for a future as a priest. Now it appeared that this was certainly not the case.

Perhaps, Josie suggested, it was only the Brothers’ brand of religious life that Noel objected to. In fact, he might have a different kind of vocation and want to become a Jesuit or a missionary?

Apparently not.

And when he was fifteen he said that he didn’t really want to join in the family Rosary anymore; it was only a ritual of meaningless prayers chanted in repetition. He didn’t mind doing good for people, trying to make less fortunate people have a better life, but surely no God could want this fifteen minutes of drone drone drone.

By the time he was sixteen they realized that he didn’t go to Sunday Mass anymore. Someone had seen him up by the canal when he was meant to have been to the early Mass up in the church on the corner. He told them that there was no point in his staying on at school, as there was nothing more he needed to learn from them. They were hiring office staff up at Hall’s and they would train him in office routine. He might as well go to work straightaway rather than hang about.

The Brothers and the teachers at his school said it was always a pity to see a boy study and leave without a qualification, but still, they said, shrugging, it was very hard trying to interest the lad in anything at all. He seemed to be sitting and waiting for his schooldays to end. Could even be for the best if he left school now. Get him into Hall’s, the big builders’ merchants; give him a wage every week and then they might see where, if anywhere, his interest lay.

Josie and Charles thought sadly of the fund that had been growing in the post office for years. Money that would never be spent making Noel Lynch into a reverend. A kindly Brother suggested that maybe they should spend it on a holiday for themselves, but Charles and Josie were shocked. This money had been saved for God’s work; it would be spent on God’s work.

Noel got his place in Hall’s. He met his work colleagues but without any great enthusiasm. They would not be his friends and companions any more than his fellow students at the Brothers had become mates. He didn’t want to be alone all the time, but it was often easier.

Over the years Noel had arranged with his mother that he would not join them at meals. He would have his lunch in the middle of the day and he would make a snack for himself in the evening. This way he missed the Rosary, the socializing with pious neighbors and the interrogation about what he had done with his day, which was the natural accompaniment to mealtimes in the Lynch household.

He took to coming home later and later. He also took to visiting Casey’s pub on the journey home—a big barn of a place, both comforting and anonymous at the same time. It was familiar because everyone knew his name.

“I’ll drop it down to you, Noel,” the loutish son of the house would say. Old Man Casey, who said little but noticed everything, would look over his spectacles as he polished the beer glasses with a clean linen cloth.

“Evening, Noel,” he would say, managing to combine the courtesy of being the landlord with the sense of disapproval he had of Noel. He was, after all, an acquaintance of Noel’s father. It was as if he were glad that Casey’s was getting the price of the pint—or several pints—as the night went on but as well as this he seemed disappointed that Noel was not spending his wages more wisely. Yet Noel liked the place. It wasn’t a trendy pub with fancy prices. It wasn’t full of girls giggling and interrupting a man’s drinking. People left him alone here.

That was worth a lot.

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Reading Group Guide

ABOUT THIS GUIDE
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of Minding Frankie, Maeve Binchy’s warm and engaging new novel.

ABOUT THIS BOOK
“Reading a Maeve Binchy novel is like settling in for a cozy visit with an old friend. In vintage Binchy style, a cast of colorfully eccentric characters living in a snug Dublin neighborhood seamlessly weave in and out of each other’s lives, united by family, faith, friendship and community . . . Readers will need a box of tissues handy as the good-hearted residents of St. Jarlath’s Crescent prove that it does indeed take a village to raise a child.” -- Booklist

“Bestseller Binchy is a national treasure in her homeland of Ireland, and her latest novel is a perfect illustration of why. . . . Binchy straddles improbable and possible in her touching saga, and if your mind can’t quite wrap itself around St. Jarlath’s Crescent, your heart will have no trouble recognizing the landscape.” -- Publishers Weekly

“The stories of Noel, his cousin Emily, and his friend Lisa, along with the social worker who wants to pull them apart and the little girl who pulls them together, make this novel fresh and appealing. An enjoyable novel about life, love and second chances.” -- Library Journal

Maeve Binchy is back with a tale of joy, heartbreak and hope, about a motherless girl collectively raised by a close-knit Dublin community. When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he agrees to take guardianship of the baby girl once she’s born. But as a single father battling demons of his own, Noel can’t do it alone.

Fortunately, he has a competent, caring network of friends, family and neighbors: Lisa, his unlucky-in-love classmate, who moves in with him to help him care for little Frankie around the clock; his American cousin, Emily, always there with a pep talk; the newly retired Dr. Hat, with more time on his hands than he knows what to do with; Dr. Declan and Fiona and their baby son, Frankie’s first friend; and many eager babysitters, including old friends Signora and Aidan and Frankie’s doting grandparents, Josie and Charles.

But not everyone is pleased with the unconventional arrangement, especially a nosy social worker, Moira, who is convinced that Frankie would be better off in a foster home. Now it’s up to Noel to persuade her that everyone in town has something special to offer when it comes to minding Frankie.

Reader's Guide
1. Have you read any of Maeve Binchy’s other novels? How does this one compare?
2. If you’ve read other Binchy books, which characters did you recognize? Are there any you’d like to see in a future novel?
3. There are many parents in the book. Who would you say does the best job, and why?
4. There are a number of recent retirees, voluntary and otherwise, who become an important part of Frankie’s life. What kind of roles do her grandparents, Josie and Charles, take on? What about Dr. Hat and Muttie? More generally, what do the very young and the very mature have to offer each other? Which generation do you think needs the other more?
5. “Emily told herself that she must not try to change the world. . . . But there were some irresistible forces that could never be fought with logic and practicality. Emily Lynch knew this for certain” (page 22). What “irresistible forces” does she mean? How does she fight them?
6. It’s clear what Noel gets from his relationship with Emily, but what does she get? How does the effect of alcoholism bond them?
7. Discuss Lisa’s relationship with Anton. Why is she so oblivious to his less attractive qualities? What is her turning point?
8. Why is Moira so obsessed with Frankie’s fate? Is it just fear, or is there something more going on?
9. How does Moira define “family”? How does Emily?
10. Lisa says to Moira, “I have a lot of worries and considerations in my life, but minding Frankie sort of grounds me. It gives it all some purpose, if you know what I mean” (page 239). Among Frankie’s caretakers, who else might say this?
11. Discuss the ethics of Moira’s dealings with Eddie Kennedy. Should she have told him about her father?
12. Anton says to Lisa, “I’m not the villain here, you know,” and she responds, “I know. That’s why I’m angry. I got it so wrong . . . ” (page 314) What does she mean?
13. What did you think of Di Kelly’s reason for staying with her husband? What would you have done?
14. What is your opinion of Noel’s decision to get a DNA test? How would you have handled the results he received?
15. Many of the characters go through major upheavals in their lives. Who responds best, and why? Whose attitude changes the most?
16. What did you think of Stella’s letter to Frankie? What did we learn from it?

SUGGESTED READING
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy; The Shellseekers by Rosamund Pilcher; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley; An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor; What Are You Like? by Anne Enright; The Empty Family by Colm Tóibín; Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson; Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including her most recent novel, Heart and Soul, in addition to Whitethorn Woods, Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 346 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    Love Maeve Binchy, but not for my NOOK!

    I bought the nook but can't share with anyone, and now these books are costing more for my eyes only! I still don't understand how the Nookbooks cost more than a printed copy that is shipped in trucks, put on shelves, sold by cashiers, and all managed by many levels of management....and cost more via internet?

    28 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Way to costly for a nookbook.....

    I can't see paying almost $15 for an electronic book I can't lend to a friend...

    So this book will be siting on my wish list unntil these gread publishers come to their senses...

    22 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Magic!

    Minding Frankie is the story of little Frankie Lynch whose mother died as she was giving birth. Her mother tells Noel Lynch that he is the father not long before she dies. A drunk who is unhappy in his work, he works hard to pull himself together for Frankie's sake. Helping, and occasionally, hindering him, are Binchy's usual cast of loveable, quirky characters - his parents who are obssessed with building a statue of Saint Jarleth, his long lost American cousin Emily who has just appeared, and those irrepressible twins. Everyone pitches in with advice and babysitting help until a cold and efficient social worker threatens to put Frankie in foster care.

    Minding Frankie is standard Maeve Binchy fare which is to say magic. As always there is the unusual but thoroughly engaging cast of characters, the lessons in love, and the heartwarming ending. The twins and Muttie provide plenty of humor to lighten things up. Reading this book is like crawling into a warm bed on a cold winter night, bringing comfort and contentment.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    As always in a Maeve Binchy drama, there is much more going on than the prime focus

    In Dublin Stella is dying from cancer. She prays she lives long enough to give birth to the child she is carrying. Worrying about the raising of her infant, she informs alcoholic Noel Lynch that he is the father. He is confused as he does not have any recall of having sex with Stella, but admits he could have been in a drunken stupor, Noel has doubts he can deal with the responsibly of a kid when he cannot even take care of himself.

    Noel's cousin Emily from New York encourages him to stop drinking and to raise his daughter, Frankie born at St. Brigid's Hospital following the death of Stella. He joins AA, works diligently to be a good father and persuade Moira the social worker he will take proper care of his daughter; the latter proves the most difficult as the case worker has an agenda caused by her own unhappy childhood. Lisa the graphic artist moves into the home of father, daughter and visiting cousin, but also joins other residents of St. Jarlath's Crescent to help her host remain sober.

    As always in a Maeve Binchy drama, there is much more going on than the prime focus as characters from previous novels reappear either to help Noel as a single dad or to tell their tale. The Irish neighborhood horde are the heart and Soul of Minding Frankie as they also mind Noel. Moira proves to be much more than a stereotype enforcer and Lisa has relationship issues, as does St. Brigid's administrator Frank. These people and Noel contrast to Emily who does everything right for everyone else, but lives precariously through their lives. Fans will enjoy Ms. Binchy's latest tour of Dublin as it takes a caring neighborhood to raise a child.

    Harriet Klausner

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2011

    Wonderful!

    Look for all those who keep complaining of the cost of the nookbooks, StOP complaining its your fault for buying one in the first place. Dont right a review based on the price of your stupid nookbook. The review is about the content in the story and it was wonderful no matter what the cost!!!!!!!!!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    too much moneyyu

    This e book cost too much money. I can not see paying this much for a book you can not even lend. B and N have sold the public on the fact that they can lend books. Not so, very disapointed in the lack of lend me books.

    7 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    Too expensive

    I agree! I love love love Maeve Binchy, but this is just too expensive to download!

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    Definately another good one

    You don't even need to read the synopsis to know that it's going to be good. As in true Maeve Binchy fashion, this is another heart tugging read that brings characters to life before your eyes. Once again she incorporates characters from previous books to play roles in the lives of the characters in this one. If you have loved Maeve Binchy's books in the past, you will once again in this.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    LOVED the book. Highly Recommend it

    I couldn't put this book down, and that doesn't happen very often. Although whenever I buy a Maeve Binchy book I can't put down. Love anything that set in Ireland. All of the characters were described so wonderfully that I could see them in my mind's eye. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next with all the characters. Thank you Maeve Binchy. Every since Shell Seekers I've been hooked on your books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2011

    Read this book!!

    This book was an absolute joy to read. I think that anyone can relate to the characters. The author really takes you for a ride in a community full of an interesting cast of characters of all ages and walks of life. From beginning to end, one becomes enamored with each one, as they navigate life's twists and turns, making decisions, weighing choices, and throughout it all, supporting one another. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Recommend

    This was my first Maeve Binchy novel and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it! This was a super cute book. Set in Ireland, this book had so many characters ( but they were easy to keep tract off) and lots going on, all based upon an unexpected arrival of a baby. I highly recommend!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Good book. Enjoyable reading. No swear words!

    I intend to read more of Maeve Binchy's books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Yes!

    I love Maeve Binchy! This was a great book, very easy read. I like how her books often inter-connect to other books, as far as the characters go. Very nice.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Great characters

    This story benefitted from a character rich cast. If only we all had neighborhoods like this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Kind of long...

    I enjoy her books, but this one seemed like it went on too long. i didn't feel as if all if the characters' stories were 'wrapped up' at the end.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    Intriguing

    As per usual, Maeve Binchy weaves a tale with a cast of several characters, somehow managing to make all of them an integral part of the story. Some claim this story to be boring, but I found it to be very interesting, personally. An intriguing read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Kind of Annoying...but ok

    I've read many of Binchy's works and this was sadly not muh of an entertaing read like, for example, Light a Penny Candle. The characters are very well developed, but she was lacking a bit as usual with her visual desciptions here. Sometimes the said "social worker" and Lisa really grated on my nerves and made me want to stop reading the book altogether. But me, being one to want to finish the book for the sake of the other characters, read through anyways.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Highly recommend!!

    I loved this book!! I hadn't read Maeve Binchy's books in a long time and thoroughly enjoyed this one. If you are a Binchy fan, you must read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Just okay!

    Having read most of Maeve Binchy's work, I felt Minding Frankie was not up to her usual standards. I always loved her books & the vivid pictures she painted with her words - this book not so much. Bringing in some characters from older books was a nice touch, but then I missed that style even more.
    If you are a Binchy fan you will probably read it & nostalgia will help you enjoy it.

    This lovely person is missed by all her fans.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    Liked it alot

    Good read, worth the money. I enjoyed it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 346 Customer Reviews

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